Cleveland Browns, first responders to unite prior to season opener

0:41 | NFL         Group of Browns Players Kneel During National Anthem After Hue Jackson Discouraged Protest

0:41 | NFL Group of Browns Players Kneel During National Anthem After Hue Jackson Discouraged Protest

A group of Cleveland Browns players, including Auburn alumnus Ricardo Louis, have met with the NFL team's owners and the city's police chief in followup efforts to a national-anthem protest.

More than a dozen players formed a circle on the team's sideline last month before the Browns hosted the New York Giants and prayed in silent protest during the national anthem.

Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis said that the union members, "decided to pull out of the event after [they] learned the Browns management "supports their players freedom of expression" and that management and their coach knew of and apparently condoned this despicable display".

Before the Browns' preseason game against the New York Giants on August 21, about a dozen Cleveland players kneeled in a circle during "The Star-Spangled Banner".

Per ESPN's Pat McManamon, Cleveland police officers, firefighters, EMTs and United States armed forces will run onto the field with Browns players before the game. They will all then stand together for the national anthem, a Browns spokesman said Friday.

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Browns players met with first responders this week and laid out a plan for what the ceremony will look like.

Loomis on Friday said he has accepted the Browns' invitation to participate in Sunday's show of unity and will detail 20 officers to take part. They also have discussed doing ride-alongs with police, among other things like hosting town hall meetings with police to "discuss relations between the police and the community".

However, it seems as though both sides have come together. "That's what the Browns have come to the table and said: 'We want to be able to talk to folks and start a dialogue.' "Which is kind of what ... if you want to call it a protest. or what their prayer was about - to start a dialogue to start to talk about some of these issues and try to come up with solutions". "I would think that just knowing our organization, obviously, we love our country, we love our flag, we love the police department and what they do for us". "We can always accomplish much more good by standing, communicating and working together than we ever will by standing apart".

"We want to unify and not create a disconnect between us and our fans or anyone else watching the games", Cleveland tight end Randall Telfer said.

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